Chetwynd Bridge weight limit proposal
Edingale Parish Council wishes to make residents aware of a potential issue that may affect farmers and other businesses in the area.
Edingale Parish Council was contacted by John Dixon, a structural engineer working for Amey and Staffordshire Highways regarding damage to the historic Chetwynd Bridge on the A513 between Alrewas and Croxall. Cracks to the bridge have been found in a recent inspection and survey, which has raised concerns regarding the state of the structure and possibly the safety of those using the bridge. Although there are plans for a new bridge, which could be built by 2025 subject to government funding, until such funding is available there is a proposed weight limit of 18 tonnes for vehicles using the bridge to protect against further damage.
Whilst seeing the need for some mitigation of further damage, Edingale Parish Council are extremely concerned about the effects of such a weight limit on agricultural and other businesses. They invited Mr Dixon and another member of his team to attend the recent Parish Council meeting. It was attended by various local people who wished to know more and to suggest alternatives to this plan.
The following points were made by the members of the public present at the meeting:
- Farmers throughout the area will be severely affected by the proposal as many need to take agricultural vehicles over the bridge or receive deliveries of loads over 18 tonnes. Mid July to end October are the critical times for farmers due to harvest.
- Other businesses rely on large deliveries being taken over the bridge, the only crossing point of the river between Tamworth and Burton. Alternative routes are not practical, they involve a long diversion via narrow roads through villages such as Whittington or Walton which would slow other traffic and endanger other motorists and pedestrians.
- Festival traffic going to Catton Park between May and August follows a traffic plan which uses the bridge (this was negotiated between the organisers and Highways a few years ago following severe delays). This includes machinery over the 18 tonne limit.
- The bridge forms part of the school bus route to John Taylor High School and Denstone School.
- An alternative bridge at Walton is being held up by Staffordshire CC delays according to the District Cllr form South Derbyshire CC who attended and consultation is needed with this Council.
- Edingale and other local villages have been fairly successful in recent years in keeping out heavy traffic due to the weight limit on local roads, this would be compromised by vehicles finding alternative routes if they could not use the bridge.
- Lessen the dead weight on the bridge by removing the concrete bollards and replacing with lighter structures to protect the sides. in addition to a lower speed limit of 10mph this could mean a higher live load could cross the bridge so the weight limit could be increased, to say 31 tonnes
- Adjust the traffic lights to allow one vehicle at a time
- Possible exemption for farm traffic
- Divert non local HGVs away from A513
- Construct a bailey bridge – Mr Dixon confirmed it was too expensive to construct a temporary bridge and too complicated to obtain the required permissions
Edingale Parish Council has asked Mr Dixon to consider these suggestions to investigate how to avoid the disruption that this proposed limit would cause locally. He has indicated he would be able to attend our next meeting on July 4th at 7.30pm at Edingale Village Hall. Should there be a large number who wish to come along we may have to move the meeting to another night that week when the larger main hall is available. Anyone interested in attending to hear more or contribute, please let us know by 27th June.